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The Forging of Arab and Muslim Identity in Pluralist America
Countless generations of Arabs and Muslims have called the United States "home." Yet while diversity and pluralism continue to define contemporary America, many Muslims are viewed by their neighbors as painful reminders of conflict and violence. In this concise volume, renowned historian Yvonne Haddad argues that American Muslim identity is as uniquely American it is for as any other race, nationality, or religion.
Becoming American? first traces the history of Arab and Muslim immigration into Western society during the 19th and 20th centuries, revealing a two-fold disconnect between the cultures—America's unwillingness to accept these new communities at home and the activities of radical Islam abroad. Urging America to reconsider its tenets of religious pluralism, Haddad reveals that the public square has more than enough room to accommodate those values and ideals inherent in the moderate Islam flourishing throughout the country. In all, in remarkable, succinct fashion, Haddad prods readers to ask what it means to be truly American and paves the way forward for not only increased understanding but for forming a Muslim message that is capable of uplifting American society.
1 The Shaping of Arab and Muslim Identity in the United States
2 Muslims and American Religious Pluralism
3 The Shaping of a Moderate North American Islam
"Haddad is always at the cutting edge in the study of Arab and Muslim Americans. Becoming American? is an important contribution both to the American Muslim community and to the growing corpus of scholarly writing on Islam in America. Haddad’s is a unique voice and one that is highly valued."
—Jane I. Smith, Harvard Divinity School
"For the past 30 years, Yvonne Haddad has been one of the most important scholars of Islam and Muslims in North America. This new book is a welcome addition to her critical work on Arabs and Muslims in the public and political landscapes of the United States. Blending anecdotes and personal narratives with recent scholarship, she has created a book that is as readable as it is important."
—Amir Hussain, Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion
"... timely and important .... Essential."
—Choice (2012, 49:9)
"[Haddad] offers a historical perspective for understanding the emergence and appeal of political Islam as a distinct alternative for Muslim countries in the postcolonial 20th century. A highly recommended quick read, good for libraries and anyone interested in a better-informed understanding of multiethnic, multireligious America."
"With this book, Haddad builds on her incomparable reputation as the leading scholar of contemporary Islam in North America. As in all of Haddad's work, Becoming American? gives careful attention to the impact of global, regional, and national political trends on the construction of unique Muslim and Arab American identities. This book is especially impressive for its cogent analysis of various appraisals of American "pluralism" from several perspectives. Drawing from scholarly critiques to official U.S. policy to popular interpretations, this book offers mature thinking about the consequences for Muslim and Arab Americans found in the current reimagining of the United States as a pluralistic society."
—Kathleen Moore, Professor of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
"A remarkable book from one of the foremost experts on Muslims in America. Becoming American? is a timely and perceptive look at the Arab and Muslim experience. Haddad has written a nuanced historical account for anyone trying to make sense of post-9/11 America. This book presents great insight into the diversity and vibrancy of the Muslim community and its potential to help achieve the American promise. This should be required reading."
—Farid Senzai, Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and co-editor of Educating the Muslims in America
"A must-read for all those interested in the development of Western Arab and Muslim communities."
—Anthony McRoy, The Muslim World Book Review
Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad is Professor of History of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. She is author or editor of more than fifteen books, including Muslim Women in America: The Challenge of Islamic Identity Today and Muslim Minorities in the West: Visible and Invisible.